Tragedy Plus Time: Calgary Comedian Zac Wiggins

Zac Wiggins has a lot of memories from his early days of being the class clown, relentlessly trying to get his classmates to laugh, though the ultimate goal was to get the teacher to laugh too (so he wouldn’t get reprimanded). He always had an innate passion for comedy, so around eighteen months ago Zac set foot on the stage at Ratboy Comedy. He doesn’t recall much from his first open mic night, as his nerves caused him to temporarily blackout, but he got told he “did alright” by peers and friends. Zac hasn’t looked back since. We sat down with him to find out more about his antics onstage.

Zac Wiggins

How would you describe your comedy style?

I would say my comedy style is usually silly takes on some darker subject matter that is largely based on my own life. I really try to be open and honest about personal trauma, insecurities and idiosyncrasies. I’m also just a weird goofy
guy at heart, so I’ve been trying to integrate that more into my standup lately.

Who are some of your influences?

George Carlin, Norm Macdonald, Chris “The Worm” Wipf.

Who was your favourite comedian growing up?

My dad used to love watching late-night talk shows so I really idolized David Letterman and Craig Ferguson as a kid.

Who is your favourite comedian now?

A tie between Tom Segura and Mark Normand.

What is your pre-show ritual?

I have been doing the same pre-show ritual since my very first time going on stage. About an hour before I leave for the show I play some really loud music and hop in the shower with a cold beer (this has recently transitioned to a cold bubbly water, preferably strawberry). After that, I’ll just stand facing the mirror and just scream into the void for a solid 15 minutes to really get the energy up. I think the audience can tell when I haven’t screamed into the void lately. Once my throat hurts I’ll throw my notebook into my backpack and be on my way.

What is your favourite place you have performed? Why?

I was in Berlin a few months ago travelling and doing a little bit of comedy, the first night I was there I did a gig on a boat that was overlooking the Berlin Wall, which was pretty surreal. The entire time I was on stage telling my silly little jokes I was like “yea this is what communism fell for, so some random comedian could talk about how much they hate condoms.” Anyway, Thank you Mr. Gorbachev for the opportunity.

What is your favourite bit you have written and why were you proud of it?

My favourite bit is actually a joke I don’t do anymore. It was the first joke I had ever written and performed on stage. The premise of the bit was comparing my father’s funeral to a really sad red-carpet event that I was the star of. I used to open with it but had to stop doing it because, well, no one found it funny. They would always say crazy things like “Wow that was sad,” or “Why are you crying on stage? or “Have you thought about therapy?” Bunch of nerds is what I think. I still love that joke because it represents the style of comedy that I appreciate, which is making light of normally sad situations.

What is your favourite medium for listening to or finding new comics/comedians?

I mean the best way to listen to comedy is live shows. I try to do a show 5 or 6 nights a week so I often end up seeing talented comedians that I’ve never heard of before just at the local Calgary mics. I’m also big into comedy podcasts currently, which is a great way to find more established international comedians. My go-to is YMH podcast with comics Tom Segura and Christina P. (Did you guys know Garth Brooks is maybe, probably, almost for sure a serial killer? Look it up.)

Tell us a joke about your city.

What do me and Calgary summers have in common? They both finish way too fast.

Do you have anything to promote right now?

Ratboy Comedy, baby! A show-up, go-up up style open mic every Wednesday at 622 8 Ave SW that I co-produce with another amazing local comic Erin Wood. Signup is at 8 pm and the show starts at 830pm. Five dollars to come watch, and comedians get in for free.

Where can we follow you?

Instagram | Tinder | Ratboy Instagram

PAY IT FORWARD: Who is another local comic/comedian we should know about?

Erin Wood, the founder and co-producer of Ratboy comedy. She is my best friend and one of the funniest people I know on and off stage. Erin is one of the reasons that I got into and stuck around in the Calgary comedy scene. She also doesn’t have her driver’s licence which makes all her accomplishments that much more inspiring.


About Emilea Semancik 23 Articles
Emilea Semancik was born in North Vancouver. Emilea has always always wanted to work as a freelance writer and currently writes for the Vancouver Guardian. Taking influence from journalism culture surrounding the great and late Anthony Bourdain, she is a recipe author working towards publishing her own series of books. You can find her food blog on Instagram: